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Countdown to Arizona Diamondbacks Opening Day: D-10, Chris Owings

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Let’s hope he’s not patrolling center-field on Opening Day at Chase Field THIS season...

San Diego Padres v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

We asked you to rank the 40-man roster along with the 16 non-roster invitees to spring training, and every day between now and the eve of Opening Day, we’ll have a profile of one of those Diamondbacks.

D minus 10: Chris Owings

  • Date of birth: August 12, 1991
  • Ht/Wt: 5’10”, 185 lbs
  • Position: Infielder
  • Status: 40-man roster
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • 2016 MLB numbers: 119 games, 466 PA, .277/.315/.416, 5 HR, 49 RBI
  • SnakePit Rating: 6.69

What a difference a year makes. As we approached Opening Day 2016, Chris Owings’s tenure with the D-backs seemed to be on thin ice. Sure, he’d had a good spring: but that came on the heels of an awful 2015, where he ranked dead-last for OPS+ among all 142 qualifying hitters. Nick Ahmed out-OPS’d him by 47 points, f’heaven’s sake. But then, A.J. Pollock went down, Owings suddenly became our Opening Day starter in center.... and unexpectedly flourished. The emergency change in position didn’t seem to faze him, and his bat returned a line of .285/.340/.419, before Chris had to go on the DL with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, causing him to miss 37 games.

When Owings returned, it might have been too soon: he hit .143 over his first two weeks back. But he returned to form and was back to hitting in the high .280’s for both August and September. A big positive was slashing his strikeout rate, cut from 26.1% in 2015, to 18.7% in 2016. Unfortunately, this was not accompanied by any increase in his walk rate, which persistently remains one of the lowest in the majors. That leaves his offensive value severely dependent on a high batting average. This year, he appears to be anointed at the everyday short-stop - though may still see time in the OF. Hopefully, he’ll seize the chance to prove 2015 was the aberration, not 2016.

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